Whence Scientific Hypotheses?

Scientific hypotheses can come from anywhere at all (well actually just from an intelligent mind).  One important thing I learned about science in graduate school was, it did not matter where your hypothesis originated, it only mattered that it could be tested and falsified in a rigorous, repeatable, and measurable way.  Scientific notions can arise from any metaphysical framework or lack of a framework.  At the basis of creationism and naturalistic evolution are presumed metaphysical truths.  Quite possibly, neither of which can be falsified, leaving the resolution to be a matter of faith.  However, that does not prevent scientists from developing testable hypotheses that spring from those underlying beliefs.  One could argue that intelligent design has fewer metaphysical entanglements than either creationism or naturalistic evolution.  The point is that testable hypotheses may come from almost any underlying belief or idea, whereas the actual underlying belief or idea itself may not be a scientific hypothesis.

Atheistic Materialism-Flee from the Truth at all Costs

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

Over at Uncommon Descent, there have been some interesting discussions about a) atheism and morality1,2 and b) physicalism.3,4 What you will find with almost all atheists is a retreat from materialism where it undermines 1) morality, and 2) rationality or freedom to evaluate evidence in a non-deterministic way. Often the retreat is accomplished by pseudo-spiritual methods (e.g., appeals to quantum mechanics, Buddhism, humanism, nature worship, or just by simply stating “I don’t believe that beliefs are fully physically determined”).  In other words, they want materialism in all ways that allow them to deny God’s existence, but reject it in the areas in which it undermines their credibility.  None of this is terribly surprising.  Were they to examine these issues in a logically consistent manner, they might have to question their atheism.  Belief in God is often very threatening to many atheists in part because of problems with commitment and difficulty yielding to authority.

All of the posts below were written by Barry Arrington.

1. Bleak Conclusions

2. Materialist Concede that Holocaust was Permitted if Materialism is True

3. Materialist Poofery

4. Emergence Redux

Science, ID, and Darwinism

In an experiment, there are one of more hypotheses. When positive predictions are made, there necessarily exists what is called a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis should be stated formally, and constructed before the study is conducted.

H0: Two simultaneous mutations are the upper limit for providing any functional advantage by evolutionary processes.
H1: Evolutionary processes may result in three or more simultaneous mutations conferring a functional advantage to an organism.

In the example above, H0 is the null hypothesis, and H1 is the experimental hypothesis. When an experiment is conducted, a finding of 3 or more simultaneous mutations resulting in a functional advantage would be said to falsify the null hypothesis.

The final writeup would go something like, “Our experiments demonstrated that 3 simultaneous mutations occurred resulting in a functional advantage for the organism. Therefore, we reject H0 in favor of H1.” The trouble in evolutionary biology is that there often is no H0. There is no formal null hypothesis. Evolution is considered to be a fact, and the null hypothesis is not addressed or tested.

Consider a recent peer-reviewed article that provides a null hypothesis that has not been falsified by Darwinist researchers: Continue reading

Some Applause for Richard Dawkins

You never thought you would hear me say something like this, but I’m saying it now. Richard Dawkins deserves some credit for his most recent book, A Devil’s Chaplain. Now, I haven’t even read the book, and probably won’t unless I can find a used copy somewhere. But, I just wanted to give Dawkins his due credit for the title of his book, because this is truth in advertising. I’m guessing that he wants Christians to hate him, and feels he is poking them with this type of book and title. But really, I do have some compassion for Dawkins. A person does not have the intensity of emotions he has on a topic without a great internal struggle of some sort.

Creation on the Web has a review of his most recent tome, and there are some interesting quotes from the review:

Dawkins’ sermons fall apart under close scrutiny, and further, he never even considers deeper philosophical problems underlying his method of argumentation. When Dawkins talks of religions fomenting wars, how does he know on a naturalistic basis that there is anything at all undesirable about war?16 How does he know that there is anything inherently good in ‘truth’? In fact, as Alvin Plantinga has shown,17 there are reasons to doubt whether human thought is even capable of corresponding to reality within a naturalistic framework—the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of naturalism.18

As the late Greg Bahnsen noted,

‘One does not decide whether to form some epistemological viewpoint and theoretical basis for certainty or not; he simply chooses whether he shall do it self-consciously and well.’19

Dawkins has an epistemology. He believes that he is capable of knowing true information by means of the scientific method, but he is entirely without a foundation in naturalism for such a belief. Christians who presuppose Scripture, on the other hand, have epistemological warrant for belief in efficacious reason and science, on the grounds that God is logical and made an orderly universe.20 Small wonder, then, that Dawkins avoids the subject and prefers a surface-level polemical approach. The biblical apologetic not only can withstand his individual ad hoc ‘empirical’ arguments, but even undercuts his entire basis of argument by showing that in order to have a reason to trust reason itself, we must presuppose the God of Scripture.21

Some of the reasoning here is similar to things we’ve discussed previously on this blog.  One can sincerely hope that his intense disdain for all authority, other than materialist science, can soften with time.  All things are possible with God.

Source: Secular Sermons.  Creation on the Web.

Naturalism is true; therefore, evolution is a fact

At the conclusion of the series of essays on DarwinsPredictions.com, the author summarizes the viewpoint of Darwinists through the relevant philosophical assumptions.  The gist is that naturalism is seen as metaphysically true; therefore, through the process of elimination, evolution is true.  The question from this perspective cannot be, “Did evolution occur?”  It can only be, “How did it occur?”

The irony here is that evolutionists make naturalism unscientific according to their own criterion of testability. This is because naturalistic explanations are the only explanations that are allowed. They therefore cannot be tested because they are true by definition. The only testing that can be done is between different sub-hypotheses of naturalism. Gradualism can be compared with punctuated equilibrium, drift can be compared with selection, and so forth. But naturalism has been defined as the only scientific option available.

Imagine if the species were designed, as they appear to be. Imagine that the DNA code, the bat’s sonar system, the towering redwood trees, and the other biological wonders were designed. If this were true, it would never be allowed within evolutionary science. How can evolutionists claim their theory is a fact while simultaneously ruling out certain explanations? They can do this by allowing for only scientific explanations to be factual. The world outside of science may be beautiful, awesome, intriguing, enchanting, and so forth, but it is not factual. In a word, science deals with facts while non-science deals with values.

So the basis, the philosophical underpinnings, of their position is untestable, and is, therefore, unscientific by their own criteria. Science, it seems, lacks a definition apart from philosophical naturalism, which is held as a metaphysical truth…a metaphysical “truth,” which is untestable.

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, science has discovered a plethora of contradictory information. Many predictions of the theory have been falsified, including foundational expectations. The theory has consistently failed and as a consequence it has grown far more complex than anything Darwin ever envisioned. Evolution is not a good scientific theory and in this sense it is comparable to geocentrism. Both theories grew ever more complicated in response to the evidences of the natural world, adding epicycle upon epicycle.

In stark contrast to these evidential problems, evolutionists believe that their theory is a fact. Evolution is a fact, they say, just as gravity is fact. This remarkable claim is an indicator that there is more to evolution than merely a scientific theory. In light of the scientific evidence, the claim that evolution is a fact may seem to be absurd. But it is not.

The fact of evolution is a necessary consequence of the metaphysical assumptions evolutionists make. Metaphysical assumptions are assumptions that do not derive from science. They are made independent of science. These metaphysical assumptions that evolutionists make would be difficult to defend as necessarily true outside of evolutionary circles, but within evolution their truth is not controversial. All of this means that the scientific problems with evolution are relegated to questions of how evolution occurred. The science cannot bear on questions of whether or not evolution occurred.

More Complex than Previously Thought-Part I

I’ve written before about how Ocam’s razor consistently slices the wrong way in biology…meaning that there is a continuous trend of discovering that the machinery of life is more complex than previously thought. 

Scientists have recently discovered,(1) that ribosomes have a “proofreading step,” which is said to recognize errors shortly after making them and has an analog to a computer’s delete button. 

It turns out, the Johns Hopkins researchers say, that the ribosome exerts far tighter quality control than anyone ever suspected over its precious protein products which, as workhorses of the cell, carry out the very business of life.

“What we now know is that in the event of miscoding, the ribosome cuts the bond and aborts the protein-in-progress, end of story,” says Rachel Green, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of molecular biology and genetics in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “There’s no second chance.” Previously, Green says, molecular biologists thought the ribosome tightly managed its actions only prior to the actual incorporation of the next building block by being super-selective about which chemical ingredients it allows to enter the process.

Joey Campana discusses this subject (more complex than previously thought) in detail(2):

“More complex than once thought”

 

 

A revealing reason that Darwinian thought has not been helpful is that it tends to see biology in simplis-tic terms that are, well, too simple. When searching Google for phrases such as “more complex than pre-viously thought,” over a million-and-a-half hits cur-rently result. Some things that were “more complex than thought” from the first few pages include re-search findings in the following areas:

  1. communication among cells
  2. the oldest animal genomes
  3. bird flight orientation
  4. genes
  5. patterns of neuronal migration during cortical development
  6. the relationship between evolution and embry-onic development
  7. p53 ubiquitination and degradation
  8. human memory
  9. the fetal immune system
  10. the mouse genome
  11. visual processing in the brain
  12. regulation of neuronal survival in the retina
  13. COX enzymes
  14. the human genome
  15. the female human body
  16. cerebellar circuitry and learned behaviors
  17. estrogen receptors
  18. neural induction (list truncated)

 ….

Currently, “less complex than once thought” only returns two hits. The data coming out of the labs would suggest that we begin to expect that things are more complex. We would stand a greater chance of being correct.

So, the science of biology would be well served by a paradigm shift focusing on design analogs and assuming design rather than assuming chance. When an information recording and trascription system is involved in biology, scientists should first start with all they know about information recording and transcription systems. Error detection and correction is an integral part of these types of systems designed by humans, and engineers can also benefit from the analysis of the machines of life.

(1). The Ribosome: Perfectionist Protein Maker Trashes Errors
(2). http://www.arn.org/docs/article_the_design_isomorph_and_isomorphic_complexity.pdf

Materialism and Free Will

The Outsider (DB; one of my co-authors) has an interesting post on the continued materialist assault on the notion of free will.

Wow, so Flip Wilson was right, all those years ago, when he told the judge, “The Devil (or in this case, his “patterns of brain activity”) made me do it!” This gets all of us off of the hook, in a moral or ethical sense, since we are not responsible for our “brain pattern activity!” How can we be responsible when our “brain patterns” are making the choices for us?(1)

Read more:

(1). “But Judge, My Brain ‘Patterns’ Made Me Do It!”